Vodacom of South Africa announced in a statement that DRC authorities had shut the offices and seized the accounts of the local branch due to a tax dispute.
“On December 6 and 7, 2022, agents of the General Directorate of Taxes (DGI) presented themselves at our technical, commercial and administrative offices and proceeded with the installation of seals,” Vodacom said in a statement dated Dec 8.
The disagreement relates to a tax audit performed by the DGI for the years 2016 through 2019 that led to a $243 million adjustment in July 2021, according to the statement. Later, the sum was decreased.
Vodacom claimed last month that it had appealed the verdict and contested it, but the DGI had already started taking steps to forcibly retrieve the money.
It was impossible to immediately reach Congolese authorities for comment. All of Congo’s phone providers have been at odds with the country’s attempts to collect additional taxes without enabling them to raise consumer pricing.
In March, the government enacted a new levy that assesses fees for each megabyte of data, text message, and phone call.
The tax took the place of another levy that had been eliminated a month earlier following protests from the public and a legislative inquiry into the use of the money.
According to Vodacom, steps had been taken to assure the continuity of its services, and every available legal option was being used.